Yesterday I had a meeting with our accountant. Midway through the meeting, he got up from the table to get something from his office. When he came back, he had some insight into our business situation that saved us a lot of money! He had a creative (and legal) idea and it came right after he took a break, after he distanced himself, for just a few minutes, from the issue at hand.
I also saw this phenomenon recently in Zimbabwe. We were in a meeting where we debated an issue for two hours. Then we took a tea break and, during that ten-minute break, settled the issue that had been so hotly debated. We "saw" something when we got up from the table that we could not see until we had a change of scenery--and some refreshments to go with it.
Then there is the example of my favorite game on my handheld computer called Text Twist. In that game, I have two and a half minutes to make as many words from the six letters the game provides. If I find the word that uses all six letters, I can go on to the next level. If not, the game ends. Often I will shut the game down with 30 seconds left and go back to it later. Many times I will immediately see the word that I could not see the first time I looked. There was something about the rest, the break in routine, that allowed my creativity to be released.
I am devoted to applying this principle in a more systematic way as we enter the New Year. Sometimes the answer isn't more effort and concentration, but rather rest and distance. Right now I am facing a major problem with my email server that isn't allowing me to communicate with the 19,000 names I have in my database. My wife asked me this morning, "How are you going to attack this problem?" I answered that I wasn't going to attack; I was going to rest and wait.
Is there some issue that you are facing that doesn't seem to have a solution? Then may I suggest that you table it for a few minutes or a few days and see if the answer doesn't emerge as you reapproach the problem later with a rested brain and renewed faith.